The reality is that the Iraqi Security Forces are improving, as Michael Hanna makes clear in a smart new Foreign Affairs piece. They still have a long way to go, of course, and Iraq will remain plagued by horrific violence for years; it's debatable how much credit Maliki himself deserves for improved security; and the non-security sectors of the Iraqi government are another story entirely. But Allawi's sharp criticism of Maliki yesterday (????) should be treated as political posturing, not evidence that the Maliki government is a failure.
Michael Cohen brings Afghanistan into the debate.